Rihanna is in love with the camera, and the camera is in love with her. Not since Diana rocketed from a shy, plump kindergarten aide to a lean, mean fashion machine has there been such a ravishingly seductive flirtation with the world press.
Like Diana, Rihanna has worryingly drifted into using photo ops to send messages of allure, defiance, or revenge in a turbulent relationship with an errant partner. Rihanna, another victim of a festering romantic triangle, has bounced dizzyingly back and forth in her checkered affair with rapper Chris Brown, who was convicted of a felony in 2009 for abusing her.
Diana's anguished helplessness and isolation inside the royal family, with its stoical code of duty, led her to gravitate toward the ever-hovering paparazzi, whose global power as a media institution increased exponentially because of her popularity... The problem is that, in this era of social media, Rihanna in her fury of tainted love has tools ready to hand that Diana never dreamed of. Instagram, for example, a photo-sharing program with a palette of special-effects filters, allows Rihanna to send personal pictures to friend and foe in the blink of an eye, without the mediation of professional photographers. It is autobiography written by a volatile mix of impulse and mood...
The speed of Rihanna's self-documentation from dawn to dusk accelerated in the months following her reunion with Brown last October. The climax was an extraordinary holiday melodrama during which Rihanna cooled her heels in a luxury rental in Barbados. Provocative photos of Rihanna lolling in skimpy beachwear followed forth, soon followed by darker shots of a morose Rihanna pacing a balcony, for all the world like Diana pining in lonely abandonment at the Taj Mahal....
SOURCE: Camille Paglia
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times